Discounters soar in stagnant supermarket sector

Discount giants Aldi and Lidl have recorded double-digit growth against relatively static supermarket growth of 0.9%, according to the latest statistics.

Meanwhile, although none of the big four changed places in terms of sales ranking, Tesco, Asda and Morrisons all posted sales shrinkage.

According to Kantar Worldpanel figures comparing the 12 weeks to 14 September 2014 and to 13 September 2015, Lidl’s sales grew by 16% from £892m to £1.03bn, while Aldi’s sales grew by 17.3%, from £1.18bn to £1.38bn.

This allowed Aldi to overtake Waitrose to become the sixth-largest supermarket with a 5.6% market share, despite Waitrose posting reasonable sales growth of 2.9%.

Iceland was the only other major supermarket to post significant growth at 3.4%, although The Co-operative also showed modest growth of 1%

Trouble at the top

Of the big four supermarkets (Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons) only Sainsbury’s managed to achieve even flat sales to hold a steady at 16.2% market share.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel, said: “Sainsbury’s has grown sales by 0.9% compared with a year ago, attracting 250,000 new shoppers through the door in the last 12 weeks.”

Tesco’s decrease was modest at -1% but Asda’s sales shrank by -2.9% and those of Morrisons by -1.4%. Morrisons’ figures are also likely to decrease further as their recently announced store closures take effect.

Sales growth has been made harder for supermarkets by negative grocery inflation, which stood at -1.7% for the 12 weeks ending 13 September 2015.

This fall partly reflects the low prices of Aldi and Lidl and the other supermarkets’ attempts to compete with them. However, the figure also represents a general deflation in major categories such as eggs, bread, butter and crisps.

Trade may grow even harder in the future as online grocery shopping increases in popularity.
McKevitt said: “Almost 7% of grocery sales are currently purchased through the internet and existing online supermarkets will be watching closely to see when Amazon Fresh will launch in the UK and whether it will steal market share or grow the online market even further.”

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